Friday, March 27, 2015

Our Annual Gathering: Building Community

Our Churchnet Annual Gathering is only about a month away, and I am looking forward to a great time fellowship and worship.  We will be meeting at First Baptist Church in Jefferson City where I have been a member for more than 17 years.  Our gathering begins on Friday evening, April 24, at 5:30 p.m. with our Annual Missions Banquet.  We will hear reports on our partnership efforts in Guatemala, the Ukraine, and Cuba. 

Following the banquet we will have our Share Hope Worship.  Our theme this year continues our Share Hope emphasis as we focus on Building a Community of Peace & Reconciliation.  Dr. Brian Kaylor who serves as our Communications and Engagement Leader will be speaking on Friday evening.  Brian is an award-winning author and journalist and a sought after speaker.  I know you will want to be present to hear his message.  First Baptist Church will be leading our worship Friday evening.

Saturday morning, April 25, we will begin with a light breakfast and business session.  Following the business session we will have our Share Hope Workshops at 8:45 and 10:00 a.m.  The workshops will focus on our Share Hope theme.  The gathering will conclude with another Share Hope Worship Service at 11:00 a.m.  Rev. Cornell Sudduth, Sr., Pastor of Second Baptist Church in Jefferson City, will be speaking, and Second Baptist Church will also be leading our Saturday worship.  Second Baptist Church was established by slaves who were formally members of First Baptist Church in the period prior to the Civil War.  What a wonderful opportunity for us to think together about what it means to build a community of peace and reconciliation as we gather with these two great congregations.

The tragic events this past year in Ferguson, Missouri, and in other communities across our nation have made it clear that we have a long way to go if we would live out the ideals upon which our nation was founded, and even further if we would build a community based upon the justice and compassion found in the covenant relationships in the scripture.

The Annual Gathering will also be the time when our Board of Directors recommends approval our Vision 2020: Engaging the Future with Hope strategic plan for 2015 through 2020.  The revised mission statement is: Churchnet serves churches by fostering collaboration and hope for engaging new generations and cultures.  This mission grew directly out of our conversations with congregations and leaders across our state. 

The plan establishes four areas of strategic initiative which will guide our ministry as we seek to serve churches:
  • Facilitate Missional Collaboration
  • Develop Hope-Filled Strategies
  • Engage New Generations & Cultures
  • Expand Community Involvement
I hope you will come to the Annual Gathering and learn more about the Vision 2020 plan as we consider God’s will for the future of our ministry together.

This article was originally written for our Churchnet page in Word&Way.

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